I’m constantly learning about witchcraft and one thing that I enjoy exploring are cycle/time based rituals such as the Sabbaths or witch/pagan holidays (Samhain, Yule, Imbolc, and so on). Today is such a holiday: the Spring Equinox also known as Ostara. And for this occasion I decided to redecorate my mantelpiece and make an Ostara-centred altar as well as try out a tarot spread and tend to my plants.
I think I unconsciously had a kind of “altar” on that mantelpiece since I’ve lived in this apartment. It’s just the perfect place to display objects that are meaningful and beautiful to me. I first build a real witchcraft altar for Samhain (Halloween). You can see that here. The mantelpiece doesn’t actually cover a real fireplace, it’s just decorative and common in homes that were build in Belgium some decades ago. There is a chimney attached to it though as I can hear the wind and pigeons through it. 🙂
My altar may not look like a typical witch or wiccan altar. Candles, wands, and stones don’t have a central role and there’s no conscious reference to the elements (water, air, earth, fire, spirit). I personally find it more interesting to gather objects to which I feel a strong connection or which have good memories attached to them. I also have a preference for self-made items, by myself or by others. So that’s why I like to display objects made by friends and (chosen) family such as a shrine-book with a key from Jessica of Fake Breakdown Crafts, a patch, sticker, and cards from Nicole, embroidered art by Megan and by Kendy of MissMuffCake, a painted frame and several other gifts from Gudrun, a wooden box carved by Hans, a sticker from Shelley… There are also several bunnies on my altar which were given to me by Jojo and by my mom. Thank you for those wonderful gifts! ❤
It’s also important to me to choose the colours for my altar. Because I have synesthesia I strongly relate colours to words. So Ostara as well as March inspired me to use mostly cyan-blue, dark green, some hot pink, and some yellow, as well as lilac/lavender which is a constant colour on my altar. These colours surprisingly fit with the traditional Ostara colours I’ve seen recommended by witchy YouTubers.
Talking about bunnies… Ostara is the start of the bunny season as Chainsaw Bunny keeps reminding me. So she gets extra carrots and cuddles today… It seems that Easter and its bunny and egg traditions must have been copied from the pagan Ostara celebrations? Anyway, bunnies rule so there can’t be enough bunny days in the year.
I also wanted to try an Ostara-themed tarot spread with my Illuminated Playing Cards deck. It’s a double tarot/card deck, one sun-oriented and one moon-focused with beautiful artwork featuring images of the sun and the moon on the back of the cards. It’s also suitable for playing card games, hence the name, which I love. By the way, a few days ago it was full moon here and I’m really fascinated by the moon’s beauty so it felt extra fitting to choose the moon cards of this tarot deck. The tarot spread I used was assembled by Unfamiliar Hour and I got some really cool results. ❤
Another thing that feels appropriate as a ritual to celebrate the arrival of Spring is sowing seeds. In August I attended a workshop organised by Girls Go Boom in which we made seed bombs. These are little rolled up balls of potting soil, clay, and seeds. We used seeds for flowers that will attract bees and butterflies. You can throw or plant the seed balls in your own garden, in a flower pot, or on fallow land like a guerrilla gardener. The seed bombs had been waiting all winter to be sown/thrown but since it’s still freezing at night I might have to wait a few more days to dig them into the earth. Alternatively, apart from sowing literal seeds, you could plant the seeds of new projects you’ve been planning or dreaming about. That’s definitely something I’m going to do in the next few weeks. Another Springtime activity could be to create a charm bag or spell bottle and fill it with seeds and/or dried flowers/herbs as an act of self-care or for welcoming the new season. It’s also a good moment to “harvest” baby sprouts of indoors plants. My spiderplant has created a LOT of offspring in the past few months so I put all the “babies” in glasses of water so they can grow roots and be repotted later. Did I tell you Spring is probably my favourite season?